Aha moments – a new twist on luxury shopping

DISCUSSION TOPIC

Luxury Site Sees Opportunities in Aha Moments 07-11-2011

TOPIC SUMMARY:

Austerity, recession, belt-tightening and bargains have become watchwords for retailers and consumers over the past few years. But have they destroyed the joy of shopping? The flash sale website Ahalife.com doesn’t think so and has opened its doors to shoppers who shop for the love of it, unconcerned about bargains or price, but looking for sheer, unadulterated, luxurious pleasure.

Ahalife’s signature sales point is “curation,” recommendations from trusted advisers for wonderful products customers might otherwise struggle to find. Entrepreneur and founder, Shauna Mei, explained to New York Times reporter, Pamela Rickman, that she “offers niche products suggested by a variety of ‘trendsetters and tastemakers.'”

“Tastemakers” are said to include Diane von Furstenberg, Wendi Murdoch, Tina Brown, Tim Gunn and Lauren Bush.

Explaining why Aha differs from women’s magazines, she added, “I haven’t read print for three years and neither have my friends. … There’s a ton of content online, but it’s not curated. We can’t separate the good from the bad.” Ms. Mei’s “aha!” moment has reportedly attracted investors from banks, management consultancies and luxury retailers.

Determined to avoid targeting anyone who might resemble a “frumpy” housewife, Aha’s products are largely imported, targeting big spenders aiming to be trendsetters. Excitement and inspiration to be tempted and spend are part of the deal, along with the actual products.

Like other flash sale sites, Aha features one offer a day from categories such as fashion, food, beauty, accessories, home décor, tech and travel. Aha’s business model is based on consignment buys rather than stockholding, with potential profits coming from a traditional wholesale/retail relationship.

Discussion questions:  Is the joy of shopping enough incentive for a luxury website without any discounts or special offers? Does the value of ‘curated’ selections work as well online as in high-end retail?

My post:

One more interesting paragraph from the nextweb article:

Mei believes AHAlife has the potential to be ‘the future trusted media company with a buy button.’

“If you think about the various publications and magazines out there, most of them have not really explored e-commerce,” she says. “We believe in content + commerce + curation and I think this trend will continue to last in the next five years. I see AHAlife as the go-to destination for brands to launch the coolest lifestyle products from around the world and where the most discerning consumers go to discover the best the world has to offer.”

I think Ms. Mei has truly hit on something special – combining the joy of the hunt, ‘belonging’ to the cool crowd, and desire to be noticed into one very hot shopping social site.  I do think the way she is handling curated selections is unique and exciting and will allow the site to be a key product launch platform and a place “to see and be seen.”  Kudos to Ms. Mei for coming up with something new to excite fashionistas and retailers to expand the boundaries of shopping.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

What do you think?  Please add your comments and add to the discussion!

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Go to the full article at Retailwire.com:  Opportunities in Aha Moments

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